Laura Erber

Artist in Residence
Period of Stay: 
March 2022 - May 2022
Guest Researcher, Copenhagen University, Denmark
Project Title: 
The Multiples of Three
Project Abstract: 

My novel is about a Brazilian writer named Laura Erber, who receives a grant to spend a few months in Budapest for the purpose of writing a novel based on the story of her Hungarian ancestors. There, she intends to find more consistent information on the Schalinger and Erber families, joined by the marriage of sisters Anna, Ilona and Ernestin Schalinger to brothers David, Éde and Imre Erber, respectively. As soon as she settles into her new flat, the Covid-19 pandemic breaks out. The worldwide spread of the pandemic, the dire news of the coronavirus crisis in Brazil, and the lack of information about her Hungarian ancestors soon begins to torment her, hindering her creative process. The narrator ultimately develops a superstitious and paranoid behavior. Seemingly trivial details and names found in home-brand products in local supermarkets appear to be secret messages from the past which, try as she might, she can’t seem to decode. Anguished and suffering from writer’s block, worried about running out of time before she can complete her project, the narrator immerses herself in the local poetry scene. Thus begins another search that leads her to experience unusual and mysterious situations, transforming the novel into a kind of tour of the contemporary literary and poetry scene in Budapest, with its bookstores and its passionate readers of long-dead poets.